Latvia: Lifelong Learning Policy: 2013, issued in 2007

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Rationale of the policy

The lifelong learning policy is based on the idea that individuals’ personal growth and self-development should be promoted at every life stage and in all spheres of life so that they can cultivate initiative and an ability to adapt. This should help to promote social integration, employment and active civil participation. In the basic guidelines of lifelong learning, an emphasis is put on adult education, which forms the weakest point of provision of education in Latvia as it is not clearly reflected in legislation. In the changing labour market and with the emergence of new technologies, non-formal education plays an important role in ensuring the development of appropriate new knowledge, skills and competences for employers, employees and individuals.

Concept of lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is based on a person’s inner need or on external factors that make it necessary to acquire and improve one’s knowledge, skills and competences. Lifelong learning is a crucial factor both in decreasing differences between regions and creating a balanced cultural environment, as well as in enhancing the quality of life and promoting society integration.

Main challenges

  • Unequal access to formal and non-formal education, including second-chance education
  • Limited learning possibilities for several social groups: families with a low income, people without basic skills, new mothers, young people, people from rural areas, people over the age of 50, prisoners, people without elementary or secondary education and people with disabilities
  • Increase in the number of unemployed people and increase in social stratification
  • Inflexible workforce due to a segregation in the education of women and men
  • Adults are not recognized as a target group by the educational system and they do not receive adequate offers that would promote their productive long-term participation in the labour market and in civil society
  • Legislation in Latvia does not determine the policy, administration and financing of lifelong learning, which means that existing resources are not well managed among the different areas

Main targets and measures

The policy refers to all educational sectors and defines three main targets:

  • Ensuring the availability of lifelong learning for citizens regardless of their age, sex, previous education, where they live, level of income, ethnicity, social status or disabilities
  • Creating high-quality education opportunities for adults in order to promote sustainable work competences, civil participation, personal growth, a democratic society and a competitive knowledge economy based on strong skills
  • Creating a harmonized system of educational legislation and efficient resource management based on the principles of shared responsibility and cooperation

The following activities are planned:

  • Implementing a results-based framework
  • Establishing an efficiently functioning, labour-market and demand-based vocational (initial and continuing) education system
  • Ensuring the availability and quality of adult education
  • Implementing career guidance and career support measures
  • Ensuring the accessibility of comprehensive and vocational educational institutions
  • Ensuring coordination at all levels between the ministry and social partners

Particular feature of the policy

The policy defines five basic principles of lifelong learning:

  • Shared responsibility: responsibility for ensuring lifelong education is shared by the state, local governments, legal entities (private entrepreneurs, social organizations) and citizens
  • Efficiency: effective usage of resources in order to reach targets of lifelong learning policies
  • Synergy of field policies: in the implementation of each field policy, citizens’ actual and prospective lifelong learning needs are considered in order to enhance quality of life
  • Availability: responsibility of state and local governments for making education available to all citizens throughout their lives regardless of age, sex, previous education, where they live, ethnicity, social status, level of income or disabilities
  • Society’s comprehension: ensuring people understand the value of lifelong learning
  • Equality: providing education tailored to residents’ needs and abilities throughout their lives

Relevant documents that the strategy refers to:

  • Latvia. 1995. Law On Institutions of Higher Education
  • Latvia. 1998. Education Law
  • Latvia. 1999. General Education Law
  • Latvia. 1999. Vocational Education Law
  • Commission of the European Communities. 2001. Memorandum on Lifelong Learning
  • Commission of the European Communities. 2001. Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality

Stakeholders involved in the development of the strategy:

  • Ministry of Education and Science

Stakeholders responsible for implementation of the strategy:

Further readings and web links:

Issuing Body

Ministry of Education and Science